“Activism is not a one-lane highway”: The digital modalities of Alliance for Choice and abortion decriminalisation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In 2019 abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland (NI) after decades of campaigning against the almost-total ban. Abortion activists in NI used multiple tools for change, utilising a feminist law-making strategy (Enright, McNeilly & de Londras, 2020) that also encompassed ‘cheeky’ witnessing (Fletcher, 2020) and movement-building alongside mutual-aid approaches to care. This paper outlines the significant contribution of alternative creative modes of dialogue from the insider perspective of core Alliance for Choice activists. The paper examines this key element of the campaign towards decriminalisation in NI, inspired and influenced by the global networks of abortion campaigns also utilising online spaces. Using digital networks to challenge problematic abortion discourse required an abundance of creative content such as podcasts, films, music, merchandise, visual art and performance. It also required daily visual online output that complimented and coalesced the wider campaign, in a digital space that Butler (2018) contends is a version of the public street. This paper offers a unique insight into the creative production and careful navigation required for campaigning towards decriminalisation in the North of Ireland. It examines the complexity of the digital space and its challenges and opportunities for abortion activists. It offers lessons for other campaigns against abortion restrictions and other social justice movements.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberFIPS (2375089)
JournalIrish Political Studies
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jul 2024

Keywords

  • abortion
  • Northern Ireland
  • socially engaged photography
  • digital activism
  • political engagement
  • feminist activism

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